Isaline Alexander records MSU’s first double-double in win over Detroit Mercy


Sarah Smith

Michigan State gathers at the center of the court ahead of their game against Purdue on December 5, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

A.J. Evans, Sports Editorial Assistant

EAST LANSING — After a loss against Ohio State last week, the Michigan State women’s basketball team returned to the Breslin Center to take on the University of Detroit Mercy. The Spartans broke their five-game losing streak and defeated the Titans 91-41 on Sunday night. 

“That was a tough stretch for sure, and it’s not going to get any easier when we get going, so at least we’re going to be prepared,” MSU women’s head coach Suzy Merchant said. 

Michigan State jumped out to a quick 13-2 lead inside six minutes in the first quarter, forcing the Titans to burn its first timeout. 

Led by the fast-paced play by MSU guard Dee Dee Hagemann, who scored the first five points for the Spartans, MSU set the tone with an uptempo offense to complement their aggression on defense. A free throw from senior forward Tory Ozment, along with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Matilda Ekh, and a layup by Ozment extended the lead to 19-2. 

The Titans struggled against the Spartans’ stifling defense. MSU threw an assortment of defensive coverages at the Titans including a full-court press and traps out of the pick-and-roll, leading to nine first-quarter turnovers for Detroit Mercy. 

After a dominant opening quarter, the Spartans entered the second quarter with a commanding 26-4 lead. MSU built off of their first-quarter success, out-rebounding the Titans 15-8 in the second quarter, forcing seven more turnovers, and closing out the half with a 57-12 lead. 

The third quarter provided a similar theme. The Titans struggled to gain momentum on offense, while MSU scored 20 more points, and entered the final stretch of the game with a 79-31 lead. 

The Spartans’ dominance on defense led to plenty of offensive transitions, where they recorded 25 points off turnovers and 28 fastbreak points in the game.

The Spartans recorded 11 three-pointers, led by Ekh, who drilled four threes.

“I think our free-throw shooting has been a bigger problem,” head coach Suzy Merchant said, referencing the Spartans’ early-season shooting woes. “I don’t see three-point shooting being as big of an issue. You’re gonna have nights where those come and go, so you have to be able to take advantage of opportunities when you can.”

After their first unit got off to an early lead, MSU’s bench unit recorded one of its best performances of the season, recording 45 of the Spartans’ 91 points in the game. 

Eight players scored more than seven points in Sunday’s game. Julia Ayrault and Ekh led the way with 13 points apiece. Additionally, sophomore forward Isaline Alexander scored 10 points and 10 rebounds, notching her first double-double. 

“We’ve been getting on our fives about defensive rebounding,” Merchant said. “For us, being able to box out and really dominate the boards is something we’re looking for. She had ten boards and six of them were on the defensive end, so that’s certainly a positive.” 

With the victory over the Titans, Michigan State is now 7-5 on the season. The Spartans will take on Prairie View A&M on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at the Breslin Center, before hosting Indiana on Dec. 29 in the final game of the calendar year.